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標題: New Tyrannosaur named 'Pinocchio rex'  
 
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New Tyrannosaur named 'Pinocchio rex'


Pinocchio was smaller than T. rex but its nose was a third longer - perhaps for a different hunting strategy


A new type of Tyrannosaur with a very long nose has been nicknamed "Pinocchio rex".

The ferocious carnivore, nine metres long with a distinctive horny snout, was a cousin of Tyrannosaurus rex.

Its skeleton was dug up in a Chinese construction site and identified by scientists at Edinburgh University, UK.


The 66-million-year-old predator, officially named Qianzhousaurus sinensis, is described in Nature Communications.

"Pinocchio" looked very different to other tyrannosaurs.

"It had the familiar toothy grin of T. rex, but its snout was long and slender, with a row of horns on top," said Edinburgh's Dr Steve Brusatte.

"It might have looked a little comical, but it would have been as deadly as any other tyrannosaur, and maybe even a little faster and stealthier.

"We thought it needed a nickname, and the long snout made us think of Pinocchio's long nose."

Researchers now think several different tyrannosaurs lived and hunted alongside each other in Asia during the late Cretaceous Period, the last days of the dinosaurs.



The enormous Tarbosaurus (up to 13m) had deep and powerful jaws like T. rex - strong enough to crush the bones of giant herbivores.




The thinner teeth and lighter skeleton of Qianzhousaurus suggest it hunted smaller creatures, such as lizards and feathered dinosaurs. But at nine metres tall and weighing almost a tonne, it was still a gigantic carnivore.

"You wouldn't want to run into either of these guys," said Dr Brusatte.

'Weird features'

Pinocchio's snout was 35% longer than other dinosaurs of its size. So, why the long face?

"The truth is we don't know yet. But it must've been doing something different," Dr Brusatte told BBC News.

"The iconic picture of a tyrannosaur is T. Rex, the biggest, baddest dinosaur of all.

"But this new species was lighter, less muscular. It breaks the mould. Perhaps it had a faster bite and hunted in a different way."



Prof Junchang Lu and Dr Steve Brusatte at the discovery site


The discovery of "Pinocchio" settles an argument over a series of strange new fossil finds.

In recent years, two tyrannosaurs with unusually prominent proboscises were dug up in Mongolia, and named Alioramus.

The horny-snouted predators appeared to come from an entirely new branch of the tyrannosaur family.

"The trouble was, they were both juveniles. So it was possible their long snouts were just a weird transient feature that grows out in adults," said Dr Brusatte, an expert in tyrannosaur evolution.

But this new Qianzhousaurus specimen is an almost fully mature adult. It was found largely intact and remarkably well preserved by road construction workers near Ganzhou in southern China.

"It's twice the size of the juveniles, and yet it still shows the same features - including the distinctive horns," said Dr Brusatte.

"This is the slam dunk we needed: the long-snouted tyrannosaurs were real."

Palaeontologists are now confident that Qianzhousaurus and Alioramus are part of a new subgroup of tyrannosaurs with elongated skulls.

Their discovery from Mongolia to southern China suggests these "second tier" carnivores were widely distributed, according to Prof Junchang Lu of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, a co-author on the paper.

"Although we are only starting to learn about them, the long-snouted tyrannosaurs were apparently one of the main groups of predatory dinosaurs in Asia," he said.

With these "weird" creatures now accepted as being part of a whole family, more and more of their long-snouted relatives are expected to be unearthed.

As for the riddle of Pinocchio's nose, the scientists hope to solve it via biomechanical studies of its jaw - which may hint at its feeding habits.
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-27296357   7 May 2014




2014-5-8 01:17 AM#1
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體長9米鼻子特長 江西新種霸王龍命名「皮諾丘王」

江西贛州2012年發現新種恐龍化石,牠是霸王龍類新表親,其身長9公尺,由於牠擁有非常長的鼻子,近日被命名為「皮諾丘王」;目前,兩具完整的恐龍化石骨架正存放在贛州市博物館,計畫半年後展出。

中國地質科學院地質研究所研究員呂君昌領導的中英聯合科研小組,對2012年在贛州發現的恐龍化石骨骼進行研究,並於7日在《自然—通訊》期刊發表研究結果,確認在贛州發現晚白堊世時期的霸王龍類新表親——長頭霸王龍類虔州龍。

「皮諾丘王」(大陸稱「匹諾曹王」)發現於贛州南康龍嶺約6600萬年前的晚白堊世南雄組(原稱南雄層)。科學家表示,其特點突出,上頜骨的上升支上具有窗格狀的孔,前上頜骨極度縮小,前後最大長度約占整個頭骨基部長度的2.2%,而其他霸王龍類這一數值約為4.3%到4.6%。

研究人員還提到,新發現的這種古代掠食者看起來與多數其他霸王龍類完全不一樣;與傳統的短而高、具有更強大咬合力及粗大牙齒的霸王龍相比,牠的頭部具有更長的吻部和窄長的牙齒。此外,這種霸王龍是一種非常兇殘的肉食性恐龍,身長有9公尺,是雷克斯暴龍的表兄弟。

呂君昌曾對媒體表示,這一新發現非常重要,包括發現於蒙古的分支龍。這些發現顯示了長吻霸王龍類在亞洲廣泛分佈,是一組主要的掠食恐龍。針對這類恐龍,研究人員建立了霸王龍科中代表長吻類群的一個新分支,呂君昌也希望能在亞洲繼續發現更多化石來豐富這一支。

「恐龍化石骨骼保存得很完整,在自然條件下非常難得,」江西省地質博物館館長楊玲說,「『皮諾丘』化石骨架發現渝南康的一個建築工地。當時,發現了一大一小兩隻,且保存得非常完整,給科研人員帶來了很大驚喜。目前,完整頭骨的部分化石骨架保存在贛州市博物館,而且正在復原以及製作複製品。」(新聞來源:中國江西網)




2014-5-15 03:00 AM#2
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